A GRACE FILLED JOURNEY • Time Hopping Through A Pandemic

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One of my favorite apps on my phone is TimeHop, which shows me photos that I have posted to Facebook and Instagram from the same day on previous years. 

For the past six years, Kyle and I have posted a #foreverhappydays photo every single day as a reminder to look for the blessings that come each day.

Sometimes looking at old memories is bittersweet. We have videos of Grace blowing kisses and saying “ma ma.” And for many of those years, the photos always included a gigantic Grace smile. And while Grace isn’t able to do any of those things any more, I’m always so grateful for photos and videos where she can.

And it means we have posted photos of Charley for every single day of her life. I’m sure some day she may not be as thrilled about that, but it’s truly a blessing for us. We love watching old videos of her learning to crawl and walk and we will always treasure the photos of she and Grace together.

Many times our memories are full of places we have been together, restaurants we have tried and being with family and friends.

I have to say it’s been strange as we have crossed the one year mark since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. One year ago, many of the photos included family walks around town, dinners on the patio and movie nights at home. 

There are photos of the girls from Easter Sunday with us, but not with their cousins because we didn’t get together last year.

We shared photos of our favorite take-out meals, but we didn’t dine in at restaurants. We didn’t take many trips. In fact, I think we only filled the van up with gas once the entire first month of the pandemic.

And while we missed going places and seeing our favorite people, we started to kind of enjoy not being always on the go. 

When the pandemic first started, the newspaper office closed at 4 p.m. for several weeks. We took advantage of that time and went for a walk almost every day before dinner. Those walks were a chance to enjoy being together just the four of us without television shows, social media or other distractions.

It was definitely a different year for our family. With Grace’s INAD diagnosis, she’s at much greater risk for respiratory issues, like COVID, and we worked hard to keep her safe by limiting the places we went and wearing masks. We feel fortunate that none of us got COVID this past year.

And we’re still working hard to keep Grace safe. Kyle and I have both received two doses of the vaccine, and we still wear masks and limit the places we go where people gather.

But the world is slowly, but surely, returning to its former “normal” self. People are starting to gather again for sporting events, even in limited capacities. Schools are planning honors nights and graduations and proms.

For our family, it means a return to being “on the go” as we cover more events for the paper and start to do a few more things as a family. 

But however strange this past year was, it was a blessing for us. We took more time to be together and enjoy the simple things at home. And I hope we are able to continue to remember that’s what truly matters moving forward.

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